Man steals aircraft from Seattle airport, fighter jet scrambled

Man steals aircraft from Seattle airport, fighter jet scrambled

This story was first published on CNN.com, "Plane with only an airline employee aboard crashes after unauthorized takeoff in Seattle, airport says".

An airline mechanic who stole a Horizon Air plane from a Seattle airport told air traffic controllers that he was a "broken guy" but also joked about whether the airline would hire him as a pilot if he landed safely. The sheriff says that the man is a Pierce County resident, and that it is believed that he is the only casualty from the crash. Confirmed info ... This is a single suicide male.

The hijacker has been described as a 29-year-old mechanic who worked for an "unknown airline". "No others involved", the office of the Pierce County Sheriff said.

The aircraft was stolen about 8 p.m. Alaska Airlines said it was in a "maintenance position" and not scheduled for a passenger flight.

The Q400 is a twin-prop aeroplane with up to 78 seats, depending on configuration.

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Local media citing sources at Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) air force base said one or more F-15 fighter planes contacted the rogue aircraft and it crashed soon afterwards. The identity and condition of the pilot are not known. He added, "The responding fighter pilots flew alongside the aircraft and were ready to do whatever was needed to protect us, but in the end the man flying the stolen plane crashed". "We heard the jet because our windows were down while we were waiting in the ferry line to go to Anderson Island which is adjacent to Ketron Island".

The employee appeared to be in distress as he spoke to air traffic control while flying the stolen plane, according to a tower broadcast of the conversation. I wouldn't want to do that.

Flight were delayed but normal operations have since resumed at Sea-Tac Airport.

Officers were conducting a background investigation on the man, who they did not identify but who was identified as "Rich" in audio recordings. He briefly turned away, then turned back and saw the explosion as the plane crashed. It's going to disappoint them to hear that I did this. The sheriff said he was probably killed in the crash.

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